Monday, November 7, 2016

It's not about quantity

Today's gospel ends with the famous,

If you had faith the size of a mustard seed.."

Most of us remember that part but not what causes Jesus to say it. He had just explained to his followers that if someone sins against them 7 times in a day and comes back each time and says "I'm sorry", they are expected to forgive. Their response is to ask for an increase in faith to enable them to forgive in this ways.

They think the problem is a lack of faith on their part. They think Jesus needs to give them more faith. Jesus understands that faith is not something to be quantified in that way. A mustard seed of faith is more than enough. After all it is a supernatural gift from God.

What is require in the gospel is not an increase in faith by Jesus, but a decision by the disciples, the decision to convert the faith they already have into action. The disciples want to put the ball in Jesus's court, YOU increase our faith. Jesus put the ball squarely in their court.

So it is with each of us. Chances are, if you are reading this blog, you have faith at least the size of a mustard seed. We have the faith, now we have to make the decision and the effort to put that faith into action, not by uprooting mulberry trees, but by forgiving and loving, not just loving God but loving our neighbor. For me, as a priest, the great question for tomorrow is not who will win but, will Christians behave like Christians.